The Waste Lands was a far cry better than The Drawing of the Three. And Jake’s back!! I liked him! The Waste Lands follows the drawn three... 2 1/2?? from the doors to what’s left of civilization in Mid-World. I still like Eddie. I don’t like Susannah (Odetta/Detta) at all. She’s a cliché, and she’s unnecessary. Sure she pulls out some helpful moves once in a while, but nothing the other characters couldn’t have done. She’s not a full character, despite being made out of “2” characters. And to add to the cliché, she even has the “Am I pregnant?!” concern going. I’d like to see a female character in Epic Fantasy that isn’t a bad cliché and completely useless. Granted, Roland himself is a cliché, but he’s badass, so it’s okay. And he thinks and has personality and isn’t made of solid fail.
Anyway, the world was interesting. Cyborgs, mutated animals, barbaric humans; I totally want a billy-bumbler!! Smart little buggers, they even kinda talk. (Even the pets have more personality than Susannah. Fail, Steve. Fail.) The village they find and the city are so amazingly different. The people in the village are skittish, all very old, but show a lot of respect for Roland when they recognize him as a gunslinger. That was a cool bit of showing culture that we didn’t get to see yet. The city people were divided into two – Pubes and Grays. The Grays are pretty much in control, they’ve got the computers and their leader actually has a brain. The Pubes seem to have more numbers though, which the Grays are successfully thinning. It’s a pretty brutal scene.
I’m not sure how I feel about the ghost in the machine idea King uses here. For the end, it really felt like King wrote up to there and got to a critical point and when “Uh... yeah... dunno from there.” Of course, the however many years in between when The Waste Lands was released and the next book add to that feeling. “Which riddle is the winner?... Do I want them to win?.... How do I beat the super-brain ghost in the machine that’s hurdling everyone of my main characters toward their death?”
I liked it though, really. I’m glad I bothered with it after the second book. Since it is King, there’s a lot of tension when the characters are in a pinch. Which one is he going to let fall? Which one’s going to get kidnapped? Will they be rescued in time? Will they be rescued at all?? His propensity to kill his characters, or horribly maim them, has absolutely nothing to do with that tension...
I kept waiting for Bilbo’s egg riddle to come up with all the talk of riddling... /random
I wasn’t actually mad at the ending. I think I kind of expected it, because I finished and went “huh..." Since there are books left, and one of the characters’ names comes up in the title, I imagine at least one of the characters survives death-by-possessed-train. I don’t know if it’s a credit or demerit to the book that I was really ambivalent about the ending. I’m reading the next book now. If it weren’t for the necessary/good first half of the last book, I’d recommend reading books one and three and just skip book two... but really, aside from Susannah’s segment (whose I’m perfectly capable of forgetting), book two wasn’t bad. But this was book three, and I could ignore her a lot easier.